How do you measure the success of your clinic? In conversations with hundreds of physical therapy private practice owners, the most common responses we receive to this question are usually, “patient care” or “monthly revenue”. There are two problems with this mindset:
- There’s increased competition and more innovation in the field of physical therapy, so providing the best possible care for your patients should already be a given.
- If you start to approach your business from a revenue generating standpoint, you’ll end up compromising your values in order to make an extra dollar. Ultimately, physical therapy is the business of improving people’s lives.
So, how should you be measuring success?
Surprisingly enough, overall patient experience matters more than the care you provide.
In order to understand the essentials of patient experience, we’ll explore some insights from a recent podcast with Brian Gallagher, Founder and President of MEG Business Management. With over 25 years in the physical therapy field, Brian can help you set up effective systems in your clinic that will lead to a better patient experience. By implementing these strategies, you can differentiate your clinic, share your brand and create a warm and engaging environment that leaves a lasting impression on your patients.
Prioritize Your Patient’s Needs
Remember that your clinic exists primarily for the well-being of the patients. Implement systems that prioritize patient satisfaction and outcomes over everything else. Whether it’s improving appointment scheduling, offering flexible treatment plans or ensuring prompt follow-ups, always keep the patient’s best interest at heart.
When creating systems and standard operating procedures for your PT clinic, Brian’s advice is simple: Don’t be annoying.
For example, if you are creating a client satisfaction survey, make the process as clear and easy as possible. Instead of sending your client home with a two-page survey to return the next time they are in the clinic, Brian recommends simplifying the entire process,
“If you have your patient’s do anything, have them do it in 30 seconds or less. It should be live, interactive or face-to-face.”
Optimize Your Clinic’s Front Desk and Waiting Area
Your clinic’s front desk experience is their first impression of your business. When they walk through the door for the first time, immediately provide validation that they chose the right clinic. Brian recommends setting up a “wall of fame”. This could include your clinicians’ certifications, your clinic’s awards, patient testimonials, press articles, etc. By sharing your brand story and achievements, you build trust and credibility, setting your clinic apart from competitors. Patients will also leave with a more positive impression of your business.
Your front desk staff is also essential for managing first impressions. Brian recommends setting up a virtual front desk to streamline administrative processes and reduce staff turnover.
Brian observed that many PT clinic owners spend unnecessary hours hiring, training and managing a front desk person. However, with a virtual front desk, none of that is required. You can assure that you’re hiring a knowledgeable front desk employee that also knows the ins and outs of PT billing.
While it’s easy to overlook, Brian encourages clinics to take their front desk experience seriously,
“Optimizing your front desk experience will make them feel like they had a better experience overall at your clinic.”
Get to Know Patients on a Human Level
While optimizing for efficiency is important, sometimes clinicians can lose sight of the human touch. Patients are not just physical ailments that need to be treated; they are individuals with unique needs and emotions. It’s essential to take time to listen actively and show genuine empathy. Avoid reducing interactions to mere mechanics and strive to make every patient feel valued and cared for.
Implement the “Give Me 5” Rule
In order to promote more personal connection amongst your patients and staff, Brian recommends using the “Give Me 5” Rule.
“Coach every staff member to learn at least five personal things about each patient.”
This simple rule can significantly impact the patient experience. Not only does it foster a deeper patient-therapist connection, it also helps tailor treatment plans to individual needs. Patients will appreciate the personalized attention and feel more comfortable throughout their recovery journey.
Gamify the Practice to Uplift and Engage Patients
Turning your clinic into a warm, social environment can greatly improve the patient experience. Consider hosting patient games, challenges, quote-of-the-days, riddles or giveaways to engage patients and create a sense of community.
“Of course you are helping them feel better physically,” Brian adds. “But you should also be lifting their spirits.”
By sponsoring events or activities that align with your clinic’s values, you can foster a positive and uplifting atmosphere that goes beyond physical healing.
Elevate Patient Experience with MEG Business & Coaching
Building effective systems for better patient experience is the cornerstone of a successful physical therapy clinic. By embracing a patient-centric approach, sharing your brand story, personalizing interactions and uplifting patients through engagement, you can create a remarkable experience that leaves a lasting impact. Remember, it’s not just about treating a knee, shoulder or hip; it’s about recognizing the person and helping them feel better both physically and emotionally.
If you need assistance in setting up these systems and taking your clinic to the next level, reach out to MEG. We also have more personalized PT business coaching within our MEG Academy. Together, we can create an exceptional patient experience that sets your practice apart and fosters long-term success.